Self Forgiveness

To Forgive Others Start With Self Forgiveness.

If you are in pain because you have been hurt by someone and find it hard to forgive them start by looking at yourself. 

Like most of use you may feel at first you are not to blame, you have been hurt, so "how could this help me"?

Blaming Yourself !

Are there things in your life that you do blame yourself for? Things like:

  • missed opportunities.
  • times when according to yourself you were not brave enough.     
  • Times when you took “the easy way out”
  • times when you know you should have behaved differently towards someone.

                  Self Blame

If one thing is certain in life you are not alone with self blame.

It is almost impossible to live a life and not blame yourself for something. 

But where there is continuous blame there is likely to be no forgiveness and this is where an opportunity for self forgiveness arises.

Mostly we do not realize we need to do this

Judging Yourself

Your "Rules"

For self forgiveness how you judge yourself is something very worthy of examination.

  • Where did the "rules" you judge yourself by come from?
  • Did you make them up or did you inherit them from some authority figure?
  • Have you ever really explained these "rules" to yourself?
  • Do they remain dormant in your mind ready to jump out and catch you as soon as, according to them, you have done something wrong?
  • Can you hear that judging voice in your head (Ego) or is it so automatic that your first awareness of having broken the “rules” comes as feelings of guilt and self blame?

 Examine Your "Rules" For Self Forgiveness

These feelings of guilt and self blame can be so automatic that it is very easy to just believe that this is just “you”. 

You accept that you have “always” been like this; your “conscience” has guided you to where you are right now.

But how much has this “conscience” restricted you, kept you within your comfort zone and possibly left you often feeling that you are not good enough? 

What To Do About Self Forgiveness

It can be difficult but you can stand back, draw a line in the sand and really see if your internal judge is serving you well right now.

Getting past internal judging is realizing that living with the past does not serve you well; it can keep you stuck and unable to move on.

Think of it like this – “now” is where the past is over and if you miss this “now” the next “now” is where you can start from.

So you always have a chance to draw that line in the sand and move on.  

Drawing "A Line In The Sand" For Self Forgiveness

“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction”
J K Rowling
Harvard Commencement Speech
TED June 2008.

For “parents” you can substitute boss, education, friends - many things - but also yourself and in doing this you can then start to love yourself and be able to forgive others.

When you love and embrace self forgiveness you will find it easier to forgive others.

Forgiving Others

Usually we judge others by the often unexamined “rules” we ourselves live by.

So if you can acknowledge that the “expiry date” on blaming yourself according to these rules is over the space for loving and forgiving others will emerge.

"There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer; no disease that enough love will not heal; no door that enough love will not open." - Emmet Fox

For most of us, in the greater scheme of things, what we need to forgive in others is probably not all that big of a deal.

The Bigger Picture

But in the greater scheme of things where people on both sides of a conflict, for instance, have suffered enormously perhaps through war, murder, rape; how could we even approach the subject of forgiveness for them, if we can’t forgive something of a much lesser nature in our own lives. 

Forgiveness comes from the inside out. 

The Healing Power Of Forgiveness

The miracle of forgiveness is that it contains the "power of release;" it can free the negative energy you use to hold on to blame and perhaps revenge.

And that "power of release" can open up to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you and enable you to release the anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge.

Embrace forgiveness and move forward.

Forgiveness Is Strength

Forgiveness is not weakness but a strength you can allow yourself to access. 

“Forgiveness is an act of strength - it does not mean condoning someone else's bad behaviour”.
Florence Scovel Shinn
The Game of Life and How to Play It, (1925)

Clearing your mind of the negative effects of blame and finding forgiveness has even been shown to have many beneficial effects:

“Forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger, hurt, depression and stress and lead to greater feelings of optimism, hope, compassion and self confidence”.
Dr. Frederic Luskin
Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects

So think about something or someone you need to forgive.

Start with being kind to yourself, remember the past is over and forgiveness is a choice you can find the strength to make.

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